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African Union Reforms: How Fast Are Member States?

by Dan Ngabonziza
11:14 am

Former African Development Bank President and a member of AU reform team Dr. Donald Kaberuka during deliberations in Kigali

It is a busy two last months of 2018 for the African Union member states. About 10 big events remain on the AU schedule before end of the year – starting with the 11th Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union scheduled for November 17, 2018.

The assembly is the supreme organ of the Union and consists of all the 55 Heads of State and Government of the African Union.

High on this 2-day assembly will be heads of state and governments reviewing the AU Institutional Reform, a reform of the AU Commission, mandate of the AU Development Agency (AUDA), and Financing of the African Union.

President Paul Kagame and the current chairperson of the African Union is expected to chair and address the assembly.

In July 2016, Kagame was tasked by African Union General Assembly to head reforms of the union with just one key word; to find a formula to make African union self-reliant.

Since then, a document was presented to the African Union detailing how the body can, among others, efficiently run itself without depending on any external support.

While few people were skeptical over the possibility of these reforms, President Kagame, firmly told member states that nothing will stand in front of the Africa’s decision to implement reforms that intend to make the African Union an autonomous organization which rely little or not at all on foreign aid.

For instance, the United States opposed AU’s self-financing formula in which 0.2% levy on eligible imports would be provided by every member state, saying it violates World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.

Rwanda’s Dr. Donald Kaberuka and former African Development Bank President who is a member of President Kagame’s advisory team on AU reforms, said “if there is peace, stability, progress in Africa – it will be a global public good.”

According to Kaberuka, “It is 0.2% not 2%…the US government says this is a violation of World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules,” he said while speaking at the 6th National Security Symposium in Musanze district, Northern Rwanda in May this year.

By imposing a 0.2% levy on eligible imports, the African Union seeks to raise at least $1.2 billion annually to fund its operations.

How are countries contributing 0.2% levy?

Ahead of the 11th Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union, it is already known that AU’s 2019 budget is $681.5 million.

Of the total budget, $158.5 million will go into financing the operational budget of the Union, while $249.8 million will be spent to program budget.

AU reform team meeting President Kagame

Under this budget, $273.3 million will finance Peace Support operations.

According to latest statement issued by the African Union, the pace at which member states are contributing the 0.2% levy on eligible imports is impressive.

“The momentum in the implementation of the 0.2% levy decision is very positive and in-fact, looking at the contributions to the peace fund using this mechanism, it is the highest we have had. Africa is taking full ownership of its development agenda,” AU said in a statement issued last night ahead of the assembly.

Meanwhile, Rwanda is leading the way in contributing the 0.2% levy along 13 other member states.

Those contributing along with Rwanda are; Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Chad; Guinea, Sudan, Congo, Cameroon, Gambia; Gabon, Cote d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone and Ghana, while 23 other countries are at various stages of implementation, according to African Union.

With the ongoing reforms, the African Union member states are working towards funding 100% of the Union’s operational budget, 75% of the programme budget and 25% of peace support operations by 2021.

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1 comment

Ekapu January 28, 2019 - 10:50 am

Great news. We heavily need reforms at the African Union. We have all the resources to make AU run all its activities. We don’t need to depend on the outside resources. We cease to continue with the term independence of Africa. My sincere thank goes to countries that have already committed to contribute to the commission and urge others to fall suit of the same. My great thanks to the outgoing AU chair-you have show great leadership and commitment towards changing Africa that we want. we welcome the new chair and wishing you the best as you take over from where President Kagame stopped. Bravo!!!

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